SEO links
Creative Commons image by Adam Levine.

Creative Commons image by Adam Levine.

Whether you are new to learning about search engine optimization, or SEO, or you’ve been at this for a while, you probably wish there were a few silver bullets that would all but guarantee success. Well, there aren’t… but there are some content- and link-based strategies to try if your SEO strategy seems to be stagnating. An SEO company can help you with any or all of these tips, or you can try your hand at these on your own.

Boost your content.

Go through each of your pages and be sure that they all have at least 300 words of content. If they already do, comb through to make sure that your keywords are included somewhere on the page, preferably toward the top. Also, read it out loud to ensure it reads well. If necessary, hire a writer or an editor to make sure that your content is human-reader-friendly. If people are clicking away from your site in frustration because the content is not up to par, then the search engines will not look favorably upon your site. Make it reader-friendly with subheadings and plenty of white space, and be sure that what you are putting on the page is worth saying; it should be engaging and relevant to your business.

Add Internal Links

Within your content, you should have a couple of links going to other pages on your website. You should also have a navigation bar on your home page that will lead to various other pages. One good tip to keep in mind is that the higher up on a page a link is located, the more importance Google and other search engines will attribute to the page it leads to. If you are using a link to a secondary page on your homepage, try to get it in the first paragraph or two, if possible.

Build External Links

Link-building means getting other sites to link to your pages. This can be easier said than done, but there are a fewA� ways to accomplish this without resorting to black-hat methods. One is to ask site-owners who are not your competitors but who still use your keyword on their pages for links. For example, if you’re a landscaper, you might know of companies who will reference landscaping in your area even though they’re not landscapers themselves. Some examples might be real estate agents, nurseries, or companies who do siding or brickwork.

Use Outbound Links

Another way to use links is to link out to other sites. Every site you link to should have content or a product that you believe in. Another consideration is that each of these sites should be reputable. Linking to a random blog does not hold the same clout as linking to a reputable organization in your industry, and search engines are aware of this. As a side note, linking out can actually end up bringing you more external links, which will, in turn, help you score better on the SEO algorithms.

Search engine optimization can be a challenge, but if you have the time to comb through your site and work on your content and your links, you should see some improvement on your ranking. Most Optimal is also available to help you with your local visibility and search marketing. Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more!

Take your own photos
Take your own photos

Creative commons image by Paul Reynolds

A picture is worth a thousand words, and this is as true on your website or blog as it is anywhere else. When choosing and uploading images, you need to think about what will appeal to your potential and current clients. You also need to keep some legalities and SEO strategies in mind. Here are some considerations to remember as you use photos and images on your site.

Dona��t Take What Isna��t Yours

If you type just about anything into Google and choose the a�?imagesa�? tab, youa��ll be confronted with pages and pages of images. Some of them are truly excellent! Wouldna��t it be nice if you could just stick them on your website?

Hopefully you already know that you cana��t do that. Those images might be copyrighted or have limited rights available, so you cannot just use whatever you find. To do so could get you into some trouble!

There are several ways to find images for your website if you arena��t creating them yourself. One is to set up an account with a stock photo site ( and DepositPhotos are two popular ones). You can pay as you go or pay a monthly fee to access all sorts of images. Some sites have free stock images that anyone can use. The point here is that you are using material that is free for the taking (with or without paying a fee first).

Another way is to find Creative Commons images. These are some rights reserved photos and infographics. The rules for each site differ, but most of the time, you can just give a credit to the photographer and state that it is a Creative Commons image. You can search for these on various sites; the one on this blog entry is from Flickr.

Be Relevant

As you look for images, you are going to want to choose something relevant to what you are talking about on your page. While a photo of a cuddly kitten is adorable, ita��s probably not appropriate if your blog entry is about how to install a ceiling fan. If youa��re having trouble finding an image, you can always use the caption field to tie something somewhat relevant back to your post.

File Names, Alt Text, and Title Text

When you go to upload your material, including your image, youa��ll have the opportunity to use a bit of search engine optimization. First, save the image on your computer with a file name that is relevant to your keyword. If your keyword is a�?landscapers in Idaho,a�? for example, you can use that as the file name. Dona��t leave the name as the string of numbers and letters that it was named on the photo site.

Youa��ll notice that you will have the option to include a caption. You can make it relevant to your article or use it for the photo credit. Youa��ll also have a field called a�?alt text.a�? This is the text that will appear if for some reason the photo does not load properly. You can use the keyword here, but ita��s better to describe the image in a few words.

Finally, youa��ll have one more field called a�?title text.a�? If your readers hover over your image, this is the text that will pop up. You can do various things with this; use the title of the article here, use the caption, or make up something else entirely. Again, if it makes sense, go ahead and include the keyword, but you dona��t have to.

Choosing images can be fun, but it can also be frustrating. Remember that if you cana��t find the perfect image, you might try taking a photo yourself or creating an infographic. Dona��t neglect to add some visual interest to your site or post, though; you really should have something there to attract the attention of people who are casually browsing.